In the campaign silly season, faux scandals erupt with the reliability of Old Faithful. And much like the famous Yellowstone geyser, they're mostly gone with predictable haste.
So it was on Thursday morning, when a front page story by the New York Times set the Internet a-twitter with snark. The article in question, "G.O.P. 'Super PAC' Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama," detailed a provocative proposal for billionaire conservative Joe Ricketts to mount a super PAC offensive reiterating links between the president and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The proposal -- from which Ricketts distanced himself following hours of Web mockery -- played on right-wing fears that President Obama was never properly vetted by the media and that untold stories of his youth hold the key to understanding his allegedly radical beliefs. (The ones, presumably, that he hides beneath his disappointingly moderate exterior.)
One of the most damning elements of the report was the suggestion that Ricketts' Ending Spending Action Fund find an "extremely literate conservative African-American" spokesman, one who can isolate the group from charges of racism while calling attention to the reality of Mr. Obama's cultivated image as a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln."
Twitter and assorted news outlets had a good deal of fun over it all (Call him the Great Manscaper!); Mitt Romney gave a half-throated condemnation of attack ads while taking the opportunity to attack his rival; and Ricketts said he'd spend his $10 million on another attack.
Meanwhile, we learned the lengths to which big-money donors may go to get a Republican in the White House. For billionaires like Ricketts, no price is too high if it can get us to buy into the myth that Obama is a dangerous extremist -- so they can swoop into power and unfurl their own very real dangerous, extremist agenda.
Make no mistake:?The super PAC era has only just begun.
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